D.O. Valle de la Orotava

Tenerife, with an area of 2,032km2, is the largest and most populous of the Canary Islands, known internationally as the “island of eternal spring”. The island is also home to a few DO’s of wines, among them the DO Valle de la Orotava, where today the identity of its wines, whites and reds, are based on the particular and unique character of the native Listán grape variety.

The island of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is part of the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean, situated just north of Africa, near the coast of southern Morocco and the Sahara, forming one of the 17 autonomous communities of Spain.


The first vineyards on the island appeared in the Valle de La Orotava back in the sixteenth century, in El Burgado estate, in the municipality of Los Realejos. For over two centuries its Malvasía wine, made with the Malvasía grape variety of low production and naturally sweet, was exported to northern Europe, thus making, thus making the Puerto de la Cruz at the first port of the Canary Islands and the essential axis of foreign trade. 


The business with the wine was so intense that in the nineteenth century traders lived in houses with their small cellar. Commercial houses had avocado boxes to test the goods, markers for pipes and rods to measure English pipes. They estimate that by the Port of La Orotava, 30,000 pipes Malvasia wine were exported in one year.


This commercial success motivated the urban development of the three municipalities of the valley: Los Realejos, La Orotava and Puerto de la Cruz, where in the latter a British Colony with a permanent consulate would settle. The company controlled the export trade of wines with the creation of the monopolistic company ´Companía de Canarias ‘1665’. Many boats docked at the pier of Puerto de la Cruz bound for the Peninsula, England, Netherlands, Germany, Africa, and America. In fact, the commercial boom with England resulted in 1674 vintage requiring 150 English ships, who anchored in front of the dock waiting for long-awaited wines.


However, during the mid-eighteenth century, policy adopted by the English during the war with Spain sparked the beginning of a crisis for Malvasía wine in the canaries, with a dramatic drop in prices and profits. Viticulture then turned to the “vidueno” or “vid común”, an alternative variety of higher production and lower costs, it was presented less risks, and was ideal for exporting to the US, as well as easy to transform into brandy for the export to Cuba, Yucatan and Venezuela.


However, viticulture took a huge setback, with a decline of local wines due to the attack of powdery and downy mildew. This was not helped by the boost in coastal areas of the island. In mid-1950 many vineyard he is abandoned.


However, the creation of the DO Valle de la Orotava in 1995 saw major transformation of the wine sector on the island, with abandoned vineyards recovered and replanted. Over time wines from the region became well known both on and off the island, sold at good prices. Until now the transformation of the region has been slow and costly, with the suitability of varieties and wines seeming to never arrive to the island, perhaps for being just so far from the innovations that occurred on the peninsula. However, in recent years a positive contagion of the peninsular wineries came to the island with force, and despite adverse weather conditions, modern oenology is now a reality in the Valle de la Orotova.


 The DO Valle de la Orotava is located in the north of Tenerife, covering the municipalities of La Orotava, Los Realejos and Puerto de la Cruz. There are currently 400 hectares of vineyards in the valley, on the northern slopes of Mount Teide, extending to the Atlantic Ocean. There are currently 600 registered winemakers and 13 wineries under the DO. However it is worth noting that given its distance from the mainland, the island was not affected by the outbreak of phylloxera and the vines are planted their original pre-phylloxera rootstock, which is reflected in the purity of the wines without the influence of a rootstock. If we consider that the majority of the vineyards were introduced from Europe in the fifteenth to eighteenth centuries, before the phylloxera swept vineyards, we can see that they are preserved with a high degree of purity.


The Traditional Cordón Trenzado method.


Another unique feature of the DO is the training of the vines into braided cordons known as el cordon trenzado, a unique system used nowhere else in the world. Vine branches are braided together in large bunches of multiple strands at a height of 0.60-0.80m from the ground. Vine lengths vary from 3 meters up to 15 in the case of old-established vines. This method of vine training evolved due to space constraints on the island. Traditionally, el cordon trenzado allowed branches to be moved easily, leaving the earth below to be utilized for potatoes, which were essential for feeding the island's inhabitants. It also means that mechanical harvesting is impossible, with manual labour required at all stages, from pruning to the harvest, because the uniqueness and particularity of the land that are planted in ungrafted, makes the braided cord is a handcrafted task. There are still a few vineyards who use this technique.


 


Climate, Soil and Varieties.


Broadly speaking, the DO Valle de la Orotava is home to a climate that is moderate and mild during all seasons of the year. The region experiences mild temperatures, with no cold periods of excessively high temperatures. Average temperatures are 18 ° C in winter and 25 ° C in summer, but these are relative and general values.   


Although the island does experience some noticeable contrasts, especially during winter, when you can enjoy the sun in coastal areas, and yet, 3,000 metres above sea level, you can see the white blanket of snow on the Teide, where it snows every year. The moisture-laden trade winds blow throughout the year from the NW and NE, cleansing and freshening the atmosphere and softening temperatures, while the influence of the Atlantic, with its cold current of the Canary Islands, reaches all places softening temperatures in coastal areas and giving great moisture to the air.


Soils are typically 70% in volcanic character, 20% clay and the remaining 10% is volcanic rock. They are lightweight, permeable, and rich in mineral nutrients with a slightly acidic PH due to the volcanic nature of the island.


In regards to grape varieties, the Regulatory Council of the DO Valle de la Orotava authorises the white varieties Listán Blanco, Bastardo Blanco, Gual, Forastera Blanca (Gomera), Malvasía, Marmajuelo, Moscatel, Pedro Jiménez, Torrontés, Verdello and Vijariego. In regards to the red varieties, the varieties Listán Negro, Bastardo Negro, Malvasía Rosada, Moscatel Negro, Negramoll, Tintilla and Vijariego Negro are authorised.


However, the most predominant varieties are the Listán Blanco and Listán Negro, which cover 90% of the vineyards in the DO.  Wines from the DO Valle de la Orotava are split equally between red and white wines, although traditionally the Los Realejos region is known for producing more white wine, while the La Orotava region produces more red.


 


Wines and Wineries from the DO Valle de la Orotava.


The majority of the wineries in the DO have stainless steel facilities, and use oak barrels for fermentation. The majority of white wines in the DO are produced with the Listán Blanco variety, or with the native Gual and Vijariego varieties. There are then some pioneering wineries which produce excellent fruity red wines with short ageing in American oak barrels. Fortified, traditional and sparkling wines are also made in the area, while rosé wines have little representation.


Suertes de Marqués. This is a family winery that aims to produce wines that express the character of the terroir. This winery has managed to make an impression not only in Spain but also abroad.


The winery is home the the El Esquilón farm, in an area known as Las Suertes, in the midlands of the Valle de la Orotava. The vineyards cover a total of 9 hectares of land, divided into 21 plots, at altitudes ranging between 350 and 700 metres. Their main asset is their century old vines of Listán Negro and Listán Blanco, together with other small and young vineyards planted with other varieties, such as Vijariego, Slimy, Tintilla and Albillo. Wines by Suerte del Marqués are made in limited production and can be classified into three large familys: Village wines, which come from various plots from different vine growers, as well as other plots of our property, they are vinified separately and assembled before bottling. Single vineyard wines: they come exclusively from specific plots in the property known as Finca El Esquilón. They are vinified and bottled separately. Special vinifications: Suertes del Marqués Blanco Dulce (Sweet White) and Suertes del Marqués Tinto Dulce (Sweet Red). The range of wines produced by the winery includes Trenzado, a white wine blend of Listán Blanco (90%) and Pedro Ximénez (6%), both grown on century old vines, as well as Vidueno (4%) grown on 15 year old vines. 40% of the wine undergoes fermentation in concrete, with the other 60% in (500litre) French oak barrels, where it then ages 40% in concrete for 8 months, while the other 60% in (500litre) French oak barrels from small Burgundian coopers on its lees for 8 months. Then there is La Solana, a red wine made with the Listán Negro grape variety, taken from 2.5 hectares vineyard facing east and located at an altitude between 350 and 450 meters above sea level, where the vineyards ages vary from eighty to one hundred and fifty years old. The wine is fermented in (500litre) new French oak barrels, and is aged for 10-12 months, depending on the vintage. El Ciruelo is another red wine produced by the winery, a blend of Listán Negro (97%) and Listán Blanco (3%), taken from a plot of only 0.75 ha., located between 480 and 520 meters above sea level facing north. The vines that grow are over 90 years old. Fermentation is carried out with native yeasts in open concrete vats with light manual bazuqueos. Malolactic fermentation takes place in (500litre) capacity French oak barrels, and lasts for 12 months on its lees in the same barrels.


Bodega Tajinaste. Founded in 1977, when the García Farráis family decided to move into the world of winemaking. The winery is home to very old vines, with Listán Blanco and Negro vines planted back in 1914, cultivated using the Cordón Trenzado method. The winery works with the upmost respect for the vineyard, combining traditional winemaking and viticulture with cutting edge winemaking techniques, thus achieving a real typicality in their wines. The range of wines produced by the winery includes Can, a red wines made with the Listán Negro and Vijariego Negro variety, aged for 9 months in new French oak barrels. The winery also produces Tejinaste Blanco Afrutado, complex yet subtle on the nose and palate with a slight natural sweetness, as well as the Tejinaste Blanco Seco, from vineyards of different altitudes. The winery also produces a rosé and a number of traditional red wines, such as the Tejinaste Vendimia Selecionnada, a single varietal Listán Negro, only made during exceptional vintages, superb and elegant. 

Wineries belonging to the D.O Valle de la Orotava:

Outstanding wines from the D.O. Valle de la Orotava:

  • Suertes del Marqués Vidonia 2015

    White wine Aged on its lees. 10 months in French oak barrels. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Suertes del Marqués. Production area: Valle de la Orotava. Grapes used in this wine: Listán Blanca.

    • Decántalo 95
    22,80 VAT incl.
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    Suertes del Marqués Vidonia 2015

    White wine Aged on its lees. 10 months in French oak barrels. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Suertes del Marqués. Production area: Valle de la Orotava. Grapes used in this wine: Listán Blanca.

    • Decántalo: 95
    22,80 VAT incl.
    Last 3 available!
    Online only
  • Suertes del Marqués La Solana 2014

    Red wine Barrel. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Suertes del Marqués. Production area: Valle de la Orotava. Grapes used in this wine: Listan negro.

    • Decántalo 93
    • Parker 92
    • Peñin 93
    16,90 VAT incl.
    6x
    16,05 €/u
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    Suertes del Marqués La Solana 2014

    Red wine Barrel. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Suertes del Marqués. Production area: Valle de la Orotava. Grapes used in this wine: Listan negro.

    • Decántalo: 93
    • Parker: 92
    • Peñin: 93
    16,90 VAT incl.
    6x
    16,05 €/u
    Online only
  • Suertes del Marqués El Lance 2015

    Red wine Barrel. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Suertes del Marqués. Production area: Valle de la Orotava. Grapes used in this wine: Listan negro and Baboso Negro and Other red varieties and Vijariego Negro.

    • Decántalo 93
    14,60 VAT incl.
    6x
    13,85 €/u
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    Suertes del Marqués El Lance 2015

    Red wine Barrel. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Suertes del Marqués. Production area: Valle de la Orotava. Grapes used in this wine: Listan negro and Baboso Negro and Other red varieties and Vijariego Negro.

    • Decántalo: 93
    14,60 VAT incl.
    6x
    13,85 €/u
    Online only
  • Suertes del Marqués Los Pasitos 2014

    Red wine Barrel. 14 months in French oak barrels. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Suertes del Marqués. Production area: Valle de la Orotava. Grapes used in this wine: Baboso Negro.

    • Parker 93
    • Peñin 93
    30,90 VAT incl.
    6x
    29,35 €/u
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    Suertes del Marqués Los Pasitos 2014

    Red wine Barrel. 14 months in French oak barrels. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Suertes del Marqués. Production area: Valle de la Orotava. Grapes used in this wine: Baboso Negro.

    • Parker: 93
    • Peñin: 93
    30,90 VAT incl.
    6x
    29,35 €/u
    Online only
  • Suertes del Marqués 7 Fuentes 2014

    Red wine Barrel. 8 months in French oak barrels and 8 months in tank. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Suertes del Marqués. Production area: Valle de la Orotava. Grapes used in this wine: Tinta del Pais and Listan negro.

    • Decántalo 91
    • Parker 92
    11,95 VAT incl.
    6x
    11,40 €/u
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    Suertes del Marqués 7 Fuentes 2014

    Red wine Barrel. 8 months in French oak barrels and 8 months in tank. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Suertes del Marqués. Production area: Valle de la Orotava. Grapes used in this wine: Tinta del Pais and Listan negro.

    • Decántalo: 91
    • Parker: 92
    11,95 VAT incl.
    6x
    11,40 €/u
    Online only
  • Suertes del Marques Trenzado 2014

    White wine Barrel fermented. 8 months in French oak barrels. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Suertes del Marqués. Production area: Valle de la Orotava. Grapes used in this wine: Other White varieties and Listán Blanca and Pedro Ximénez.

    • Decántalo 92
    • Parker 91
    15,40 VAT incl.
    6x
    14,60 €/u
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    Suertes del Marques Trenzado 2014

    White wine Barrel fermented. 8 months in French oak barrels. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Suertes del Marqués. Production area: Valle de la Orotava. Grapes used in this wine: Other White varieties and Listán Blanca and Pedro Ximénez.

    • Decántalo: 92
    • Parker: 91
    15,40 VAT incl.
    6x
    14,60 €/u
    Online only
  • Suertes del Marqués El Esquilón 2013

    Red wine Crianza. 12 months in French oak barrels. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Suertes del Marqués. Production area: Valle de la Orotava. Grapes used in this wine: Tinta del Pais and Listan negro.

    • Parker 92
    18,90 VAT incl.
    6x
    17,95 €/u
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    Suertes del Marqués El Esquilón 2013

    Red wine Crianza. 12 months in French oak barrels. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Suertes del Marqués. Production area: Valle de la Orotava. Grapes used in this wine: Tinta del Pais and Listan negro.

    • Parker: 92
    18,90 VAT incl.
    6x
    17,95 €/u
    Online only
  • Suertes del Marqués Candio 2011

    Red wine Reserva. 16 months in French oak barrels. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Suertes del Marqués. Production area: Valle de la Orotava. Grapes used in this wine: Listan negro.

    • Peñin 93
    26,30 VAT incl.
    6x
    24,95 €/u
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    Suertes del Marqués Candio 2011

    Red wine Reserva. 16 months in French oak barrels. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Suertes del Marqués. Production area: Valle de la Orotava. Grapes used in this wine: Listan negro.

    • Peñin: 93
    26,30 VAT incl.
    6x
    24,95 €/u
    Online only
  • Suertes del Marqués La Solana 2013

    Red wine Barrel. 12 months in French oak barrels. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Suertes del Marqués. Production area: Valle de la Orotava. Grapes used in this wine: Listan negro.

    • Parker 92
    • Peñin 90
    16,90 VAT incl.
    6x
    16,05 €/u
    Last 3 available!
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    Suertes del Marqués La Solana 2013

    Red wine Barrel. 12 months in French oak barrels. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Suertes del Marqués. Production area: Valle de la Orotava. Grapes used in this wine: Listan negro.

    • Parker: 92
    • Peñin: 90
    16,90 VAT incl.
    6x
    16,05 €/u
    Last 3 available!
    Online only
  • Suertes del Marqués El Ciruelo 2011

    Red wine. 12 months in French oak barrels. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Suertes del Marqués. Production area: Valle de la Orotava. Grapes used in this wine: Listan negro and Listán Blanca.

    • Decántalo 92
    • Parker 94
    29,50 VAT incl.
    6x
    28,00 €/u
    Out of stock!
    Sold out
    Suertes del Marqués El Ciruelo 2011

    Red wine. 12 months in French oak barrels. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Suertes del Marqués. Production area: Valle de la Orotava. Grapes used in this wine: Listan negro and Listán Blanca.

    • Decántalo: 92
    • Parker: 94
    29,50 VAT incl.
    6x
    28,00 €/u
    Out of stock!
    Sold out
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